The Scout Report -- Volume 15, Number 22

June 5, 2009

A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sponsored by University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries.

Research and Education

General Interest

Network Tools

In The News

Research and Education

African Elections Project [pdf]

Interest in the election results within various African nations continues to grow, and the African Elections Project is a great source of information on this timely topic. The Project is coordinated by the International Institute for ICT Journalism and a number of additional partners, such as the Open Society Initiative for West Africa and Global Voices. The material on the site is available in both French and English, and currently it covers Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Malawi, and Niger. Within each country profile, visitors can view the results of recent elections, take a look at relevant weblogs, learn about the various political parties in each country, and also view past news updates. Additionally, visitors can sign up to receive email updates or RSS feeds. [KMG]

Starting and Maintaining and Academic Year Undergraduate Research Program [pdf]

Developing a meaningful research program for undergraduate students can be tricky, and some faculty members may be looking for a resource to help them with such an endeavor. Recently, a joint panel of experts convened by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) met up to discuss how to effectively mentor undergraduate research. The panelists included Sarah Spence Adams, Rebecca Garcia, Rick Gillman, Darren Narayan, and Daniel Schaal, and the summary of their discussion can be found here. They were asked to talk about five different topics, including purposes for doing undergraduate research and the characteristics of good undergraduate research problems. After reading the short summaries of each of the five topics, visitors can view each panelist's original presentation or presentation notes. [KMG]

To find this resource and more high-quality online resources in math and science visit Scout's sister site - AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Educational Repository at

Diasporas, Migration & Identities [pdf]

Funded with substantial monies provided by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the United Kingdom, the Diasporas, Migrations & Identities research programme is designed "to research, discuss and present issues related to diasporas and migration, and their past and present impact on subjectivity and identity, culture and the imagination, place and space, emotion, politics and sociality." While the programme is no longer actively funded, visitors can view the fruits of their academic labors on this site in the "Publications" area. Visitors to this section can view their annual reports and their working papers. Scholars and others can make their way through ten working papers, which include the titles "Here we go-but where? The possibilities of diaspora in the field of sport" and "London's Chinatown: Diaspora, Identity and Belonging". The site also contains a "Links" area, which contains a healthy selection of external links to other like-minded research institutes and centers. [KMG]

Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th-Century Chesapeake

Peering into the past by looking at bones affords great insight into the lives of previous inhabitants of this planet, and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History has done just that via this compelling web exhibit. Through the use of "bone biographies", a team of researchers has been looking into the lives of settlers who lived in 17th century Jamestown, Virginia and the much more well-to-do settlers who lived around St. Mary's City, Maryland. Along the left-hand side of the homepage, visitors can check out sections such as "Skeleton Keys", "Unearthing the 17th Century Chesapeake", and "Forensic Files". In the "Skeleton Keys" area, visitors can learn the basics of what to look for in a bone, and what bones tell us. The "Unearthing the 17th Century Chesapeake" area contains detailed information about the lives of both groups of settlers, along with illustrations of their dwellings and their burial grounds. Finally, the "Forensic Files" area teaches visitors how much can be gleaned from a skeleton via several interesting case studies from the past several years. [KMG]

Virtual Shanghai: Shanghai Urban Space in Time

Started in 2005, the Virtual Shanghai site was funded by the National Research Agency in France. The project is edited by Christian Henriot of Lyon University, and the project incorporates essays, primary documents, photographs, and maps as a way to explore this tremendously diverse and fast-moving city. It's a tall order, and the site succeeds by presenting original research on the city, digitized versions of early tour guides to the city from the Western perspective, and over 3500 photographs. New users can get started by clicking on one of the main sections, which include "Texts", "Images", "Maps", and "References". Each section contains a brief introduction, which can make the amount of material contained within a bit less daunting. Visitors should also note that the site features a weblog with additional updates and resources. [KMG]

The Gay Peoples Union Collection [Real Player]

In the 1970s, The Gay Peoples Union was the most important gay and lesbian rights organization in Milwaukee. The Union started as a student group at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and they eventually took a key role in working for social change in the contentious arena of educating the general public about homosexuality. This extremely valuable digital collection was created by the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections initiative, utilizing materials from the Division of Archives and Special Collections of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Visitors to the site can make their way through copies of the Gay Peoples Union newsletter and also listen to the radio program, Gay Perspective. Users are welcome to also browse the textual and audio materials at their leisure. [KMG]

DIGMAP [Flash Player]

Created through a novel partnership between The European Library and libraries like the National Library of Portugal and the National Library of Italy, DIGIMAP brings together thousands of historically important maps. On the DIGIMAP homepage, visitors can get things started by clicking on a selection within the "From Our Collections" area. This area features a rotating selection of their maps which cover the past seven centuries and extend to all corners of Europe. Visitor can also use the drop-down menu in the right-hand corner to view the site in a number of languages, including German, Dutch, Estonian, and French. Moving on, visitors can browse this collection by author, date, place, or contributing institution. Finally, the site is rounded out by a "News" area which provides press releases and other information on the DIGIMAP project. [KMG]

The Leo Strauss Center: The University of Chicago [pdf]

Revered by some, criticized by others, Leo Strauss remains a very important and influential figure in a number of academic fields, including political philosophy, classics, and Jewish studies. For twenty years, Strauss was a faculty member at the University of Chicago, and the Leo Strauss Center at that institution was created in order "to promote the serious study of Leo Strauss's thought primarily through the preservation and publication of the unpublished written and audio record that he left behind." On the Center's site, visitors can make their way through sections titled "Strauss's Publications", "On Strauss's Thought", "Strauss Archives", and a biographical sketch. In the "Strauss's Publications" area visitors can read a detailed bibliography compiled by Heinrich Meier. The "Strauss Archives" section contains a finding aid to the Leo Strauss Papers held at the Special Collections Research Center in the University of Chicago Library. Moving on, the "Audio of a Meno Class" section contains an audio recording of Strauss's class on Plato's Meno from the spring of 1966. The site is rounded out by a search engine and information about the persons responsible for the administration of the Center. [KMG]

General Interest

The Architectural Legacy of Herbert Miller Greene [pdf]

With his work for the Masons, the University of Texas, and various institutions in Dallas, Herbert Miller Greene established himself as an architect of the first rank. Greene was born in Huntington, Pennsylvania in 1871 and after obtaining an architecture degree from the University of Illinois he went on to Dallas to establish the firm Hubbell and Greene. This particular online exhibit grew out of a 2005 in situ exhibit at the University of Texas, and it contains a detailed biography of Greene (along with newspaper articles about his work), along with an "Architectural Legacy" section. In this section, visitors can view the works that he built around the state of Texas, complete with detailed photo galleries and architectural plans. The section also includes a brochure from his firm, along with a list of his projects. [KMG]

UF/IFAS Extension: Solutions for Your Life [pdf]

"Solutions for Your Life" is the tagline for the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, and it's a thoroughly apt description of the services they provide. Administered jointly by the University of Florida and Florida A&M University, the Service is dedicated to "developing knowledge in agriculture, human and natural resources, and the life sciences and to making that knowledge accessible to sustain and enhance the quality of human life." Just by looking at their homepage, visitors will get a sense of the cornucopia of material they've brought together. Hints on grilling, the current housing situation in the state, tips on looking for a job, and catch and release fishing are but a few of the topics covered by their many experts. Those persons looking for specific information can use the search engine, or they can click on over to the broad thematic categories on the left-hand side of the page, which include "Environment", Lawn & Garden", "Agriculture", and "Sustainable Living". Finally, visitors can click on their FAQ area and also learn about their work throughout the state in the "Success Stories" section. [KMG]

Prints from the Curzon Collection: Images of Napoleon and British Fears of Invasion, 1789-1815

In recent years, the Oxford University Library has embarked on a number of ambitious digitization projects. One of their projects has focused on a collection of 1400 prints of political cartoons from the period of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. The collection includes prints from both British and European publications and focuses on changing representations of Napoleon and on British fears of invasion. Visitors to the site can make their way through this collection, which is searchable by artist, title, and subject. The images presented here are taken from original etchings contained in volumes of A.M. Broadley's "Napoleon in Caricature" from 1911 and J. Holland Rose's "Life of Napoleon" from 1905. First-time visitors might get a good sense of the materials covered here by looking at the subject list which ranges from "Allegorical figure" all the way to "Whig party". [KMG]

Benson Ford Research Center [pdf, Flash Player]

The Benson Ford Research Center in Dearborn, Michigan, is comprised of a museum, an IMAX theatre, a factory tour, and a recreated 19th century village. Their website offers a great digitized view of all that the Center has to offer. At the top of the site, on the left hand side, is a search engine called Smart Site, which allows the visitor to tell the search engine whether they are "Just Browsing", "Educator", "Tourist/Out of Town Visitor" or even "A Private Event Planner or Bride". There are two interactive maps available of the Greenfield Village and the Museum, also found at the top of the homepage. Educators of all sorts will enjoy the many resources for their classroom students, summer camp students, daycare students, and homeschoolers, which can be found under the "Education" tab in the top middle of any page. Because Henry Ford had a great affection for collecting, and had the means to do so, the Benson Ford Research Center has physical and online exhibits of items that are not just automobile-related. Visitors can click on the "Exhibits/Collections" tab on the far right side of the homepage, and then go to the "online exhibits" link to see "Innovators", "Toys", and "Historic Dress: The Henry Ford Historic Costume Collection". [KMG]

Convention on Biological Diversity: Forest Biodiversity [pdf]

The Convention on Biological Diversity: Forestry Biodiversity is a program of The United Nations and United Nations Environment Programmes. Visitors who would like a comprehensive explanation of forest biodiversity should check out the heading on the left side of any page "About Forest Biodiversity", and its accompanying links "What is Forest Biological Diversity?", "What's the Problem?", "Why Does it Matter?", and "What Needs to be Done?" Keeping up on the news relating to REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), put out in a bimonthly newsletter, is easy when users sign up for the e-newsletter. Head to the "Implementation" section on the far left side, and click on the "REDD e-newsletter" for information on how to subscribe and to read the guidelines for authors to submit material to REDD. Also under the "Implementation" section is the link to "Case Studies" which offers over 50 documents to download, from "Expansion of Industrial Logging in Central Africa" to "Assessing Human Well-Being in Sustainable Forest Management" to "Application of Ecosystem Approach in Finland - Landscape Ecological Forest Management Planning". [KMG]

American Experience: The Polio Crusade [Flash Player]

This episode of PBS's American Experience series tackles the crusade against polio that came to a dramatic crossroads in 1950. The story not only illuminates the details of the disease, it also shows how donations from average Americans provided significant funding, and how Americans banded together to help fight the disease. Many scientists, polio survivors, doctors, and parents are interviewed for the film, and despite knowing the outcome--invention of the Salk vaccine and eventual eradication of polio in the United States--the film is still very compelling. Under "About this Film" on the left side of any page, the website provides details such as the "Cast & Crew" of the film, "Photo Gallery", and the "Show Transcript". The "Learn and Explore" section, also on the left side of any page contains fascinating features including "Story Highlights", "Teacher's Resources", and "Then & Now". For visitors without access to a TV, clicking on "Watch the Film Online", in the middle of the page, allows anyone to watch the complete film online. [KMG]

Crime Victims' Institute [pdf]

Originally created in 1995 by the Texas State Legislature, and moved eight years later from the office of the Attorney General to Sam Houston State University, the Crime Victims' Institute provides studies of crime victims, online local and national resources for crime victims and links to criminal justice education. The "Publications" available on the site can be accessed on the far left hand side of the menu and include Legislative Briefs, Research Briefs, Survey Reports, and General Information. "Videos", also available on the far left hand side of the menu, include a video entitled "Stalking: Real Fear Real Crime" that is a training tape inspired by a real crime victim. The left hand menu also contains three important categories for all victims: "Victim Compensation", "Victim Impact Statement", and "Victim Rights", which provide links in English and Spanish, as well as victim impact forms. Almost the complete text of the Texas Crime Victim Bill of Rights is also available under the "Victim Rights" link. [KMG]

MoMA: Aernout Mik [Flash Player] [Deb]

This online exhibition from MoMA presents views of eight video installations created by Dutch artist Aernout Mik (b. 1962) during the last thirteen years. Mik's fictional scenarios combine images that seem fairly plausible - such as people in what appears to be a hotel meeting room or maybe a courtroom, with imposing desks and chandeliers. But some elements are awry - there are men with t-shirts pulled over their heads sitting and lying on the floor, random papers littering the area, and skinheads walking on top of the desks. The eight works included in the show are: Fluff, 1996, 16mm film loop transferred to DVD; Middlemen, 2001; Osmosis and Excess, 2005; Vacuum Room, 2005 - which is the example described above; Raw Footage, 2006, compiled by Mik using news footage; Scapegoats, 2006; Training Ground, 2006; and Schoolyard, 2009. At the museum, Mik's works are displayed in both gallery spaces and more unusual places such as stairwells. [DS]

Network Tools

Oneeko 2.0.1

If you're in Shanghai working on a collaborative project with a friend, but they are in Peoria, you might encounter some difficulties. This application offers a bit of a novel twist to screen sharing, and it's quite intuitive in its interface. After downloading the application, users will note that the screen sharing appears as a type of "looking-glass". The majority of the window space is dedicated to a transparent pane, in order to create a type of shared space where both users can see into the shared space. Visitors will need to register on the website to use this application, and a paid version is also available. This version of Oneeko is compatible with computers running Windows XP and newer. [KMG]

Google Reader 1.0.0

As of late, Google has been adding a number of compelling new gadgets for use with Google Desktop. They recently released the Google Reader, which is designed to help users keep track of their various RSS feeds. It's a pretty basic RSS reader, and some might quibble with the lack of embedded images and such, but it is easy to use and navigate for those with Google Desktop. This version is compatible with all operating systems, and users will need to have Google Desktop 5 and newer installed. [KMG]

Correction: Introduction to Gaming 2009

Last week the Scout Report featured the Introduction to Gaming 2009 website. Some of our readers experienced problems with the link and we have since discovered that, in error, we published the URL for the site's Atom feed instead of the main URL for their site. Not all clients or environments are set up to handle these feed URLs and that is why some of our readers experienced difficulties with the website. The link above will take readers to the main URL and should alleviate these issues. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our readers and thank those of you who let us know about the issue. [CMH]

In The News

Once on the fringes, poetry slams have firmly entered the mainstream, and an early pioneer expresses concern

Is Slam in Danger of Going Soft? [Free registration may be required]

Slam's new round: The founder of the poetry slam issues two books to renew the genre

Obama Hosts White House Poetry Night

Poetry Slam, Inc.

The Poetry Foundation: Chicago Poetry Walking Tour [iTunes]

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge

While the exact origins of the poetry slam are hard to pin down, some might point to the northwest corner of Broadway and Lawrence Avenues in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood. Here, hidden by a dazzling neon sign, is the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge where poetry slammer Marc Kelly Smith fused various elements of spoken word performances, poetry, and a touch of Tom Waits into what is now called a poetry slam. 25 years later, Smith is concerned about the future of poetry slams, noting in a recent interview in the New York Times, "Now there's an audience, and people just want to write what the last guy wrote so they can get their face on TV." This unique art form has certainly flourished over the past several decades, and poetry slams have been organized from the Ozarks to Reunion Island. Others still remain ambivalent about such events, including literary critic and scholar Harold Bloom who once called poetry slamming "the death of art." Despite being co-opted by some in the mainstream media, Smith maintains that the poetry slam can retain its unique qualities and its subversive form of social commentary. [KMG]

The first link will take visitors to a news story from this Tuesday's New York Times on Smith and the world of poetry slams. The second link will lead interested parties to a recent article from Time Out Chicago that talks about Smith's two recent books on the subject of poetry slams. Moving on, the third link leads to an NPR news feature on the recent poetry night held at the White House. The fourth link leads to the homepage of Poetry Slam, Inc., which is the organization charged with overseeing the international coalition of poetry slams. The fifth link leads to an excellent audio walking tour of important poetry sites in Chicago, created by the Poetry Foundation. Finally, for those who might be in or around Chicago soon, the final link leads to the homepage of the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, where Smith and his band do their thing every Sunday night. [KMG]

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